September 16, 2008
VoIP Insiders Flock to ITEXPO Opening; Avaya, Others Hail Future of UC
By Michael Dinan, TMCnet Editor
ITEXPO (News - Alert), LOS ANGELES – Sheila Aschenbrenner, a regional manager for Schaumburg, Illinois-based Mutare Software, says she came tonight to her first-ever Internet Telephony Conference & Expo to see who is unveiling what new products.
A Sacramento-based regional manager for Mutare, Aschenbrenner was one of nearly 100 business professionals attending a conference-opening workshop from Basking Ridge, New Jersey-based Avaya (News - Alert) Inc., a business communications specialist that's seen Mutare create applications for its products as a partner in Avaya's online developer community, DevConnect (News - Alert).
“I’ve read a lot about this show through the years,” Aschenbrenner said as developers, unified communications specialists, journalists, SMB owners and others gathered in a ballroom at a downtown Los Angeles hotel for the presentation. “But I’ve never had a chance to attend one.”
She’s coming to a good one.
Thousands of IT professionals, gadget-lovers, media members, industry analysts and VoIP insiders are expected to attend the event, held in the West Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center.
During tonight's workshop, Zeus Kerravala, senior vice president of enterprise research for Yankee Group, delivered a keynote presentation titled “The Role of Communication in the Anywhere” – a talk that centered on the hot topic of “Unified Communications (News - Alert)” – technologies that 70 percent of SMBs are using or are planning to use, according to one recent study.
UC is also something that Avaya officials say they’re focusing their SMB sales and services upon – witness the hiring recently of Raj Sonty as vice president of solutions at its SMB division, an appointment about which he spoke to TMCnet.
According to Kerravala, in the UC Web market today, VoIP is maturing as most organizations see UC as a means of saving money, a sort of new wave phenomenon that many industry insiders have recognized for years as “converged” or “integrated” messaging.
For Kerravala, the future of UC is “intelligent communications.”
“Communications embedded into the fabric of business,” Kerravala said, defining the term. “Communications embedded into business applications. Intelligent communications creates business agility, process improvement and leads to competitive advantages.”
The executive’s dramatic example of what he called “intelligent communications” involved one company client, a hospital, that was able to use UC to more strategically deploy nurses, doctors and other medical professionals, saving not only time and money for the healthcare organization, but also, possibly, lives.
With clinical notification and better distribution of patient information, the medical field is one vertical that Kerravala said he expected to adopt UC early on, along with higher education, city government and hospitality.
According to Kerravala, the so-called “communications-enabled revolution” will be as big as the client server revolution, allowing any communications tool to serve any user, in any place.
“The future value will come from the third-party applications that run on top of the communications platforms,” he said.
The executive said he believes that voice-enabled applications, in particular, will create a much higher level of business productivity – filling in during times such as when one’s in traffic or waiting in line, not in order to give people work to do at all times, but to maximize productivity and efficiency, he said.
“This revolution is going to happen and I think it’s going to be significant,” Kerravala said.
During the presentation – which featured several references to the tumultuous happenings on Wall Street as well as to the Dallas Cowboys-Philadelphia Eagles game that was in progress and on TVs in a nearby bar – Avaya’s Eric Rossman, who managers Avaya’s DevConnect program, also talked about the benefits of being privately owned and gave some statistics about DevConnect: more than 30,000 members, 8,000 companies and nearly 500 known current solutions.
The hour-long presentation finished with Montgomery, Alabama-based Tommy Pruitt of Pruitt Communications Inc. presenting on DevConnect success story of UC innovation, bringing a staggering amount of messaging and communications ability to a city hotel through WiFi (News - Alert) phones, Teldex touchscreen phones and other technologies.
One first-time ITEXPO attendee, Jebb Dykstra of Austin, Texas-based Meetrix – a UC subsystems vendor, especially in video, telephony and integrated security – said he came to the conference to learn as much as he could, seek new strategic partners and customers and particularly to hear Avaya’s and other companies’ presentations on UC.
He said after the talk that he wasn’t disappointed.
“I thought it was a great presentation,” Dykstra said. “I’m very receptive to the DevConnect program after hearing what they had to share. They did a great job.”
Avaya Inc. is a Diamond sponsor of Internet Telephony Conference & EXPO — the biggest and most comprehensive IP communications event of the year. ITEXPO will take place in Los Angeles, California, September 16-18, 2008, featuring three valuable days of exhibits, conferences, and networking opportunities you can’t afford to miss. Don’t wait. Register now!